Diffa - Seven gendarmes have been killed in an attack on a
refugee camp in Niger hosting civilians who have fled Boko Haram, security and
humanitarian sources said on Friday.
Thursday's attack at the south-eastern Nguagam camp, home to
both internally displaced Nigeriens and refugees from across the border in
Nigeria, came shortly after a major visit by lawmakers and UN personnel.
"Seven gendarmes were killed. They were buried
today," a humanitarian source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told
AFP. A security source confirmed the toll.
"Three Boko Haram vehicles arrived in the area,"
El Hadj Kilibou, one of the camp's residents, told AFP.
"They went to attack the position of the gendarmes, who
abandoned their post. They took the vehicles and set fire to the gendarmes'
camp," added Kilibou.
"They were wearing gendarmes' uniforms and were onboard
gendarme vehicles. I saw it with my own eyes. They said to me, 'Don't run,
stay, we're not killing civilians'."
Kilibou fled a massive Boko Haram attack in the town of
Bosso on June 3 that left 26 Nigerien and Nigerian soldiers dead as well as
numerous civilians, prompting 50 000 people to flee.
Humanitarian and security sources said the Islamist group
had infiltrated the camp, just a few kilometres from the Nigerian border, in
order to watch what is happening there.
Boko Haram's seven-year insurgency has left at least 20 000
people dead in Nigeria and made more than 2.6 million homeless in its quest to
form a hardline Islamic state.
Extending the attacks to neighbouring countries from their
base in northern Nigeria, the group's ascendancy has prompted a regional
military fightback from Niger, Chad and Cameroon.